The Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) Summer Undergraduate Research Internship (SURI) is a research-intensive, nine-week program for undergraduate students who have an interest in pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences and who have completed at least one year of study at a university or college. Interns will work on a research project within the laboratory of their primary mentor and will present their work as a short talk at our annual Intern Research Symposium. As a group, the interns will participate in additional scientific, career development, and social activities.

PNRI labs host interns through partnerships with universities and local nonprofit organizations, like Rainier Scholars. We are honored to play a role in building the career of future scientists. Students who identify as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Southeast Asian, Native Alaskan or Native Pacific Islander or another group historically excluded from the sciences OR who are from low-income homes OR who are the first in their family to attend college OR who attend two-year colleges or small liberal arts institutions without broad research facilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Read more below about our 2024 Summer Undergraduate Research Internship.

PNRI Labs Hosting Interns in 2024

Claudia Carvalho, PhD

The Carvalho Lab applies state-of-the-art molecular sequencing technologies to investigate the genome of individuals with rare diseases. Our goal is to investigate disease-specific genomic alterations to understand how they contribute to disease expression and the mechanisms underlying DNA variation formation. Students will learn human genetics and analysis of next-generation sequencing data in the context of diseases. Potential projects will allow interns to learn and use various technologies and methodologies to study the structure of the genome.

Aimée Dudley, PhD

The Dudley Lab studies how naturally occurring genetic variation leads to the stunning array of phenotypic diversity that we see on the planet. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of classic microbiology, modern genomics, and high throughput robotics to discover which mutations in human genes could cause disease. Potential projects will focus on genes that cause rare childhood diseases in which rapid diagnosis can positively impact a patient’s health outcome.

Rick McLaughlin, PhD

The McLaughlin Lab studies genome evolution with a particular interest in the evolutionary arms race between our genomes and pathogens like viruses and transposons. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of molecular and computational biology to explore how our innate immune genes evolve to stop pathogens and the diseases that result when our immune system falters. Potential projects will focus on studying new genes that contribute to our ability to prevent disease and how pathogen replication could drive autoimmune disease.

Michael Metzger, PhD

The Metzger Lab studies a transmissible cancer in clams in which the cancer cells themselves jump from animal to animal through the environment. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will use a combination of experimental and computational techniques to grow clam cancer cells in the lab, analyze cancer genomes, and detect cancer-specific DNA in seawater. Potential projects will focus on understanding how cancer can evolve and how host animals can become resistant to it.

Lisa Stubbs, PhD

The Stubbs Lab studies the genetics of brain development, and how differences in brain development translate into individual behaviors and susceptibility/resilience to disease. As an undergraduate intern in our lab, you will study genes encoding regulatory factors—transcription factors and key signaling molecules—that sit atop gene networks that are activated with precise timing and sequence to build and maintain a fully functioning brain. Potential projects will include studying genes that function in the brain to impact social interactions, emotions, and intellectual capabilities. 

By participating in this internship, you will:

  • Conduct scientific research in a biomedical research lab
  • Participate in scientific seminars, journal clubs, and career development activities
  • Interact with scientists from a variety of different disciplines, including genetics, evolutionary biology, biomedical engineering, medicine, and computational biology
  • Learn about a wide range of career options in the fields of life science research, industry, and medicine
  • Present the results of your research to your peers and colleagues


  • Must be a current college student, entering their second or later year in 2024.
  • Must have a strong interest in life sciences, medicine, math, or engineering
  • Must be able to commit 30 hours per week for a minimum of nine (9) consecutive weeks between Monday, June 10 and Friday, August 30, 2024. Specific dates will be determined with consideration to each student’s academic calendar and their host lab’s availability

How to apply:

  • Applications are accepted from December 4, 2023 to February 23, 2024 and will be reviewed upon receipt, with interviews conducted (via Zoom) in early March 2024.
  • We encourage applicants to review our “Tips for Submitting a Quality Application” below.
  • Interns will receive a stipend of $5,600.00 paid on a monthly schedule of $1,400.00 per payment. The length of the SURI program shall last nine weeks.  SURI Interns are expected to commit at least 30 hours of work per week to the program.
  • Interns are responsible for all costs associated with their travel to Seattle, local housing for the duration of the program, and meals. PNRI will provide a free ORCA card for local public transportation to each intern. Housing is available through the University of Washington’s Seattle Intern Housing Program and may be available through Seattle University.

If you have questions, please email Rick McLaughlin:

Tips for submitting a quality application:

The SURI is a competitive program. While adhering to the following recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program, it does improve your chances of creating a successful application.

  • Review PNRI hosting lab information to identify faculty whose research is of interest to you.
  • Give yourself adequate time to prepare a thoughtful, detailed application. Relevant information includes but is not limited to explaining:
    • In which hosting lab would you be interested in gaining research experience and why.
    • How the focus of the lab relates to your research interests (e.g., classic microbiology, modern genomics, transmissible cancer, high throughput robotics, and/or analysis of next-generation sequencing data).
    • How the SURI opportunity may further your academic and career goals.
  • Before submitting your application:
    • Proofread your application materials by thoroughly reviewing your responses and supporting materials for accuracy and completeness. Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late or revised materials.
  • Ask others to review your application materials.
    • Ask friends, professors, or faculty advisors to review your statement and provide suggestions for your consideration.

Have questions? Watch our virtual information session!

Watch the recording of our virtual information session held on January 18 to learn about projects you could work on as an intern at PNRI and how to write a cover letter and résumé for a research internship.

To apply, complete and submit the application form below and include the following items:

  • Résumé, which should include a brief description of the science, math, and computer science classes you have taken
  • One-page statement describing 1) how participation in the internship will enhance your education and career goals; 2) which lab(s) most interest(s) you and why

About PNRI

PNRI is an independent, nonprofit, biomedical research institute with a distinguished history of contributing scientific advances to improve health. We believe genetic research holds untapped potential to improve human health. PNRI pursues an unanswered question in the field of genetics: what keeps people healthy in the face of genetic and environmental risk?  At PNRI, our culture encourages originality, risk-taking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

PNRI is an equal opportunity employer.  PNRI does not, and will not, discriminate against any applicant or employee on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, mental or physical disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital or family status, family or medical care leave, pregnancy or related condition (including childbirth and/or nursing), political affiliation or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.  We believe diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is not only good business, it’s the right thing to do.